By: Zach Walker
The 91st Academy Awards are this Sunday, and you know what that means. Well, for most of you, it means nothing. Just another day to skim 50 pages of Humanities reading or watch Gordon Ramsay ask where the lamb sauce is. But it should mean something. If not the awards show itself, than the films. The art behind it. Here are the five most important Oscar films this year. If you watch anything, watch one of these.
1. Green Book
An Italian bouncer and a black pianist walk into a bar in the deep South in the 1960s. Not a joke, but the movie of the year. This period-piece shatters Hollywood stereotypes and sets a new standard for what a best picture nominee can and should be. It’s heart-wrenching, hilarious, and urgent. If you’re budget only allots enough for one ticket, go see Green Book. If not, skip a Caribou run and see it anyway.
The one your Spanish professor told you to see. This black-and-white foreign-language arthouse piece is entering the race in peak position. With 10 nominations, Roma is tied for the most this year. The directorial return of cinematic powerhouse Alfonso Cuarón is an honest account of the director’s own childhood in Mexico. This one’s on Netflix, so there’s really no excuse for missing it.
3. The Favourite
Tied with Roma for most nominations, The Favourite enters the ceremony in favorable position. A quirky battle for popularity set in 18th century England, this is not your standard king and queen movie. It is a royal achievement of sophisticated slapstick and admirable performances by its three leading ladies. Go see The Favourite if you are a history buff, fashion expert, or just liked Emma Stone in La La Land.
4. A Star is Born
If you listen to the radio, you know A Star is Born. Lady Gaga’s acting debut not only showcases her impressive vocal talent, but proves that she is more than just a weirdo in the meat dress. The rest of the cast matches Gaga in every scene, with both Bradley Cooper and Sam Elliott putting forth career performances. Heck, Cooper even sings. And he’s not that bad. A Star is Born is a visceral account of the toils of fame and offers lessons beyond the stage. It is not to be missed.
5. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Yeah, another Spider-Man movie. Although the lightest of the five, this genre-bending animated action flick packs a heavy punch. Combining multiple animation styles through a comic-book lense, Into the Spider-Verse is unlike not only any kids movie, but any movie period. It takes risks that pay off, cracks jokes that hit, and provides a fresh stage to one of the most beloved heroes of all time.
So, what are you waiting for? Go buy your tickets!